"I'm feeling good and I'm confident we're going to win this," Fairbanks said Saturday morning. "I never went into a tough fight thinking I was going to lose. I'm not going into this one that way, either."
The 79-year-old Fairbanks said he was diagnosed in late August and is scheduled for 42 days of radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
Fairbanks played collegiately for coach Duffy Daugherty at Michigan State and served as head coach of the Sooners from 1967-72 before leaving to coach the NFL New England Patriots (1973-78). Fairbanks later replaced Bill Mallory as head coach at Colorado (1979-81) and coached the inaugural season of the USFL New Jersey Generals (1983).
Fairbanks' coaching career began at Ishpeming High School in Michigan. He later served as an assistant under Frank Kush at Arizona State (1958-61) and Bill Yeoman at Houston (1962-65) before arriving at OU in 1966.
Fairbanks was promoted to Sooners head coach following the death of Jim Mackenzie in April 1967.
The Sooners won three Big Eight titles in six seasons under Fairbanks, who was selected The Sporting News college football coach of the year in 1971 when OU finished No. 2 in the final Associated Press poll and played the original "Game of the Century" against Nebraska, a 35-31 loss in Norman.
Fairbanks compiled a record of 52-15-1 (.772) with the Sooners and his teams featured 1969 Heisman Trophy winner Steve Owens, Jack Mildren and freshman Joe Washington. When Fairbanks left to coach the Patriots, he was replaced by OU offensive coordinator Barry Switzer.
After coaching, Fairbanks entered real estate and golf course development businesses with ventures in California and Arizona.
Fairbanks has residences in Northern Michigan and also in Scottsdale, Ariz. He and wife, Puddy, have three sons (Chuck, Tyler and Toby) and two daughters (Gwenn and Malissa).